"You mustn't sleep here," said the creature. "Look,"
he said, pointing to the far distance. "This is the Valley of Delicious
"Yes," said the creature, " and I can tell that you are already unwilling to leave this lovely valley. You think that this is it."
"Well, I can't see beyond these mountains and the mountains do seem rather difficult to climb and..."
"But what of your grand adventures?"
"What grand adventures?" said Francis sleepily."These flowers look so tasty."
"What adventures?" cried the creature excitedly and hopped into the sky. This startled Francis for the creature shot up so high that Francis could hardly see him.
"O, why did you do that?" asked Francis.
"Because, that is the only way to see beyond the smug!"
"And what do you see?"asked Francis, standing up.
"It's the Gryphon!"
"The Gryphon? What's that?" but as soon as he uttered these words, a golden shadow fell across the entire valley, encrusting the grass and flowers with a thin gold leaf. A strong breeze blew them both down.
"The Gryphon is passing!" cried the creature excitedly. Francis felt his sleepiness vanish entirely. He looked up and saw something that looked like a golden dirigible. As it wafted forwards and disappeared beyond the ridge Francis felt an immense pang in his heart. He began running it to catch a further glimpse but the Gryphon was very soon out of sight entirely.
"How can I find him again?" asked Francis.
"Follow him," said the creature,"over the mountains."
"And you won't come with me?"
"I can't." said the creature.
"I must warn all who come here."
"And how do you prevent yourself from being overcome by this incredibly delicious sleepiness?"
"I exercise whenever I feel the delicious sleepiness come on."
"You never sleep?"
"But what do you eat?"
"I siphon the nectar from these deadly flowers. The nectar is quite alright. It is the flowers that are deadly."
"And how do you jump so high?"
"I was taught by a faun who would sweep the cobwebs from the sky. He told me that he once hovered midair for an hour and that he knew, at that particular moment, he could choose never to touch the ground again."
"He went mad afterwards, brilliantly mad."
"Mediocrity engulfed me. I told him that I was going to jump out the window, and into the light....and if I practice...ah, it's heartbreaking."
"You need wings..."
"I hear Amazonian birds of paradise never touch ground..."
"Actually they do. Do gryphons ever touch ground?"
"I don't really know. I mind my own business and they mind theirs."
"I'd like to meet one," said Francis.
"Yes, I suppose so," said the creature and then abruptly nodded off.
"Do wake up," said Francis alarmed but nothing could wake the creature from its slumber. It seemed to be a slumber so deep that the sleeper grew grey and cold. The fragrance of the flowers rose with the night air and Francis found that the tiny tendrils started climbing up his ankles every time he paused to rest. The scent of the flowers, too, had somehow changed into an odor that was sweet and cloying. He dropped the little nosegay he had gathered and hurried onwards. He would have to reach the mountains by nightfall. The fragrance grew more and more insistent and so he covered his head with a kerchief that his mother had sewn for him.